Rainbow Art Journal – Rainbow Girl

Behold! For I have finally reached the very last page of my Rainbow Art Journal. After this illustration, I get to close this sketchbook, take it off my art table, and file it away on a shelf. It has taken me five – FIVE – years to finish this art journal. There was so much procrastinating and so many lengthy breaks where it just sat abandoned on my art table. I have started and completed so many other art projects during that span of time but this particular journal and project was a malingerer. I am, therefore, very happy to have accomplished my art mission for this Summer break in finishing this journal.

For this last drawing, I took my inspiration from one of my sisters. When we were kids, she was really into Rainbow Brite. We never saw the show (did it even air in Britain?) but I had won three of the plush toys in a competition and, having no interest in them (I think I was 9 and had never been into dolls) I gave them to my sister. She absolutely loved them and expanded her collection. Anyway, my idea was to draw a less cartoony, less cutesy Rainbow Brite but there was a twist: I decided to challenge myself to create the illustration entirely from memory, without any visual references whatsoever. I actually remembered the costume pretty accurately in terms of the arms being comprised of stripes but with a preponderance of blue. I decided to steer away from the original costume while maintaining the stripes and translating it into a blockier design. Where I was completely adrift from the original character was with the hair. While I got the hairstyle right, I had completely misremembered the colour. I really believed her hair and been rainbow coloured but, nope, she was just blonde or ginger – depending on the incarnation. Never mind my memory fail because I actually like the rainbow hair for the purposes of my journal.

Incidentally, the washi tape is not really a compositional element, though I decided to let it peek through a thin layer of white paint. This poor art journal has taken a beating and some of the pages are separating from the binding. The tape was, therefore, entirely practical.

112 - Rainbow Girl

Although I am glad to be finally saying farewell to this project after all of these years, I am glad I undertook it. In some ways it has been useful that it took me so long because I can look at the early pages of this sketchbook and see how far I have progressed with my skills. For example, the way I draw faces has improved a lot. It also does work well as a record of my experiments with different colour combinations. There are many that I would use again. I have also learned that turquoise really does go with everything. However, I have also decided – especially in this past 18 months – that I am no longer very interested in mixed media. I definitely feel more “me” as an artist when I am using ink and watercolour and I think, whether chicken or egg, that my skills are far better in those media than they are with others. I am, therefore, going to focus on ink and watercolour going forward – while challenging myself to get better with gouache because pushing myself out of my creative comfort zone is never a bad thing.

I have lots of ideas for future art projects. I think I work most efficiently when I work on a series but what I am considering is running a few series at the same time, one that is simple I can work on on days when I have tiny portions of free time and one that is more involved. Once I figure it all out, I will be sharing that art over on Pict Ink. Stay tuned I guess.

Rainbow Art Journal – Weird Owl

In my previous post, I explained that I find it difficult to concentrate on my art while also socializing. While one of my solutions is to draw a familiar subject, another is to just doodle around and see what happens without really thinking about it. This monstrosity testifies to the peril of taking that approach. Yikes. This was actually created on the same day as the Bride of Frankenstein from yesterday’s post. The opposite page was covered in gesso leftover from other projects that I had scraped on with an old gift card. The one positive quality to this page is that it has a really interesting texture. As with the Bride, all I had with me were my portable supplies so I grabbed some Inktense pencils and set to scribbling something out. I imagine I must have started out drawing an owl and honestly goodness knows what happens because the result is truly terrible. I spattered some white paint on it after I got home as if that was going to rescue it. What was I thinking? Even if I was thinking anything back then – which I doubt – I certainly cannot remember now that years have passed. At least I am proving my integrity by continuing with my commitment to share the good, bad, and ugly of my art experiments. Judder.

102 - Weird Owl

Rainbow Art Journal – Critical Cat

Thank goodness this is absolutely the last page in my Rainbow Art Journal plastered in collage. As I did with the Flying Pig, I decided to keep the illustration very simple. This is partly because I no longer enjoy the challenge of painting over collage, partly because I did not want to commit too much time to completing this page, and partly because experience has taught me that keeping shapes blocky and limiting layers works best. I share my art table with my two cats. It is situated in the sunniest corner of my kitchen so, of course, while I like the position because of the natural light, the cats like it because they can snooze in the warm sunshine. They often, therefore, watch my while I am at work at my art table and I suspect they are critiquing me. That is what inspired the subject of this page. I suspect my two cats would have scathing feedback about this illustration. I agree with their assessment but I am just glad to have finished off this page so I can move on and not have to deal with a collage substrate again.

93 - Critical Cat

Rainbow Art Journal – Ms Teapot

I normally have a very clear idea of what I am going to create when I sit down at my art table. Sometimes the idea evolves as I draw and develops in a different direction and sometimes I abandon ideas and start over but it is rare for me to begin sketching when I have zero vision. This illustration, however, is the result of one such occasion and I honestly could not even begin to explain the segues in terms of pencil lines and thinking that produced this. I think we should all be glad that I am not a potter and could not, therefore, make this as an actual teapot.

90 - Ms Teapot

Rainbow Art Journal – Flying Pig

When I declared “never again” to the idea of painting over collage, I neglected to remember that I had been pasting random scraps of collage materials throughout pages in my rainbow art journal. I, therefore, have to experience the challenge of working with collage as a substrate a few more times before I finally close this art journal.

This page of pink scraps and book pages was at least fairly flat as I had glued it down while my matte medium was still in a smooth and pliable state. Given the challenges of painting over collage, I decided to create an illustration that involved chunky shapes, something whimsical without much detail. The result was this flying pig. While it was not intentional, the “clothing” on the torso is reminiscent of the Disney version of Piglet.

80 - Flying Pig

Moon Magic

This illustration is another Draw This In Your Style challenge. As with the recent Mossy Witch, this one was also set by Heather Mahler. I am finding these challenges useful in reminding me what constitutes my own style and they are also a convenient way of making efficient use of small rations of art time as I don’t have to waste time coming up with subjects or compositions. The witchy, talon-like hands gave me a lot of difficulty so I, therefore, omitted the floating hands from the original artwork and instead extended the leaf elements to fill in the composition. I can actually see lots of flaws in this drawing but I had fun drawing it so I don’t particularly care. It is still the case that the journey is more important to me than the destination when it comes to art.

Moon Magic - DTIYS

Rainbow Art Journal – Skelebun

This is the first page in the pink section of my Rainbow Art Journal. The scrappy background was the result of me scraping leftover paint from other projects onto that page. I then created the bunny silhouette, inspired by the zombie bunnies I like to draw, and then added the (anatomically inaccurate) skeleton using a Posca paint pen. The execution is not my best work but I like Skelebun as a character so I think I may have a crack at drawing him in ink and watercolour.

77 - Skelebun

I actually completed this illustration during a meet up with my local art journaling group. Once a month, we used to gather in a local coffee shop and work on our own art projects. That all came to an end when Covid sent us into lockdown in March 2020 and it has not been resurrected. The fact that this page was completed pre-pandemic is a reminder of just how long I have been working on this project. Man, I really need to get this journal finished.

Rainbow Art Journal – Twit-Twoo

I was not really in the mood for art when I sat down at my art table but I am trying to get myself back into the habit of making regular time for creativity so I pushed myself. I decided to do something quick, simple, and whimsical. Since the windows adjacent to my art table provide me with a good view of the birds in my garden, that inspired me to draw a very simplified bird. Because I was in the purple section of my Rainbow Art Journal, I had thought I was going to draw a chubby hummingbird. However, what I ended up drawing was an owl. I kept this page very simple – just three colours of acrylic and two paint pens. The illustration itself is blah but I do like the colour palette. Most importantly, however, I pushed myself to spend time on art as an effort to build back those art habits and my ability to get something accomplished in small portion of time. And, with that, I am done with the purple section of this art journal. Maybe I can actually get this journal project completed this year.

76 - Twit-Twoo

Bloodied Knife

This illustration is a response to another Draw This In Your Style challenge. This one was hosted by artist Peter Brockhammer and I was drawn to the balance of whimsical playfulness and bloody horror in the original. I was partway through the ink work when my kids pointed out that my own style of drawing is probably too similar to the artist’s for this to be a stylistic challenge but it was still fun to adapt a digital art work to my analogue ink and watercolour. As a fan of gothic horror novels and movies, it was also just a fun subject to play with. I don’t think I have drawn blood spatter since I created my Alfred Hitchcock bookmark a couple of years ago. Spatter is always fun.

Bloodied Knife - DTIYS

Mossy Witch

I have scores of Draw This In Your Style challenges saved over on Instagram. I find them useful when I have time for art but am short on inspiration. They are also useful for both reinforcing and honing the elements of illustration that make something identifiably my style.

One of the ones I have had saved for months was a witch with moss hued hair created by Heather Mahler. She has a very distinctive style and is also a digital artist so I thought it would be fun to give it a try in analogue. Working on this drawing, I realised how much more practice I need with drawing faces in profile. My skills in that regard have definitely atrophied over the several months in which I was not putting pen to paper. I never add tattoos to the figures I draw so it was fun to add all of those little glyph details to the drawing. This was a relaxing drawing to work on because I didn’t get stuck in my own head coming up with an idea or composition.

Mossy Witch - DTIYS